Playoff Positioning

With the Tigers nearly a lock for the playoffs, there has been a lot of speculation about who the Tigers may face in the first round. I’ve read and heard quite a bit that the Tigers need to win the division so they don’t have to face the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. I wholeheartedly disagree with this line of thinking.

It’s hard to argue that the Yankees aren’t the favorites to come out of the American League. Of course they will be a formidable opponent. But if the Tigers are capture the American League Pennant and advance to the World Series they would have to beat the Yankees at some point. If you are of the opinion that the Yankees are vastly superior to the Tigers, it’s actually better for the Tigers to face them in a 5 game series than a 7 game series. The longer the series, the better the chance that the team with superior talent will prevail. Besides, what does winning the ALDS really get you anyways? Is there that much difference between losing in the first round of the playoffs or losing in the 2nd?

Don’t get me wrong, I want the Tigers to win the division. I want the Tigers facing Oakland in the first round, not because I fear the Yankees but because at the end of this year I want the Tigers to have a title of some sort. Whether that title is AL Central Division Champion, American League Champion, or World Series Champion I’ll be happy. The latter 2 are certainly possibilities, but the former is the most immediate and most within the Tigers grasp.

Want the division because you want the title, don’t want it because you think the Tigers can’t beat the Yankees.

Tiger Playoff Tickets On Sale Today

In case you live in a hut (with internet access) and haven’t heard, Tiger playoff tickets for the divisional series go on sale at 10am today. It was previously announced that tickets would be available at the Comerica Park box office at 10am and online at 2pm. That’s been changed.

The new deal is that tickets are only available online at tigers.com or via phone at 248-25-TIGER.

Ticket prices range from $35 to $110. You are allowed to purchase up to 6 tickets per game.

Clinching and Ties and such

David Pinto has contacted MLB to determine what would happen in the event of a 3 way tie where a division winner and wild card would make up 2 of the 3 teams. The answer is a multi-game playoff.

there would be a two game playoff for the division, and the two losing teams would then play another game for the wild card. However, it is being discussed that if the two game playoff results in a 1-0, 1-1, 0-1 result, that the third playoff game would be abandoned, the 1-0 team would be the division winner and the 1-1 team would get the wild card.

Meanwhile Kurt is tracking the various clinching scenarios in his sidebar.

Tigers claim Matt Stairs

The Tigers today picked Matt Stairs off of the waiver wire. Considering he was one of the names the Tigers were considering at the trade deadline, the cost of free is pretty appealing.

Stairs is 38 and is on his 3rd team this season. He typically hits in the 260’s with a respectable OBP around 350. Texas picked him up at the trade deadline and he was pretty awful in limited playing time. In 81 at-bats he hit 210/273/370 with 22 K’s. The strike outs were out of line with his career numbers.

Defensively he’s a designated hitter and shouldn’t be allowed near a glove.

The move doesn’t bother me in the sense that there was nothing given up, and this is as short term a move as you can make. He won’t be eligible for the postseason. However in the aftermath of the Neifi Perez trade I’m worried that Stairs will actually be used and either a)force Marcus Thames into another platoon situation or b)take away from the already limited playing time that Chris Shelton sees.

The good news is that Jeremy Bonderman won’t have to pitch against Stairs.

In another move, Roman Colon was transferred from the 15 day to 60 day DL. This just means the Tigers can make another pitcher eligible for the post season roster.

Flipping for home

Today MLB conducted a bunch of coin tosses to determine who would have homefield advantage in the event a one game playoff would be necessary to determine a wild card or divisional winner. All the results
are here.

But if you’re interested in how the Tigers fared, if they tie the White Sox for the AL Central, they’d play in Chicago. If the Tigers tie the Twins, they’d play in Comerica which is good because the Metrodome is evil.

Interestingly enough, the only flip conducted for the AL Wildcard was Minnesota and Chicago.

(Thanks to Jim for the tip)